Exclusive: Paul Smith On His Work For The New Men In Black Movie

4 min read

The film is screening in the UAE now

It used to be that actors Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones headlined the Men in Black movies, but for the latest instalment, Men in Black: International, the torch was passed to Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson instead. They will still be trying to keep the alien life living secretly on Earth in line, and also wearing the trademark black suit, white shirt and dark sunglasses.

This provided an opportunity for British designer Paul Smith, who is the brains behind the new clothing. Smith’s collaboration allowed him to launch a themed capsule collection based on the film, and also have a cameo role.

Here he tells us about the experience:

Your suits appear in the new Men In Black: International film. Can you tell us about the collaboration with [wardrobe designer] Penny Rose and how it came about?

Penny got in touch as she’s long been a customer of my shops in London. We go quite a long way back as she was a regular visitor to my first London shop on Floral Street in Covent Garden. From what she’s said she always enjoyed the shop’s environment and the clothes inside it.

Paul Smith’s cameo in Men in Black: International

You also make an appearance in the film, correct? Can you tell us about that?

Oh, I’d hate to ruin the surprise. You’ll have to go and see the film. But it was a lot of fun.

A suit is part of the franchise’s DNA. True or false?

Very true. I can’t think of many more iconic suits in films, other than maybe Reservoir Dogs.

You’re known for making really well tailored suits. What do you love about them?

Personally? I wear a suit every single day. I don’t really feel myself unless I’m wearing one. I love the practicality of a suit – all the pockets and so on – and I’m always carrying notepads, pens and all manner of other things, so they come in very handy!

What gives a Paul Smith suit its identity?

I make suits that can really be worn, not just for standing in a ceremony in. Whether it’s my Suit To Travel In, which is made in an all-wool crease-resistant cloth, or one of my suits with a floating canvas rather than a fused one, the suits are made to move with you.

What did you think of Woman in Black Tessa Thompson joining the franchise?

It’s fantastic! And I might be a bit biased, but Tessa looks so brilliant in a suit.

Who is your favourite character in the film?

The typewriter repair man. You’ll have to watch the film to find out why!

Chris Hemsworth in Men in Black: International

How has it been possible for you and your brand to continue to be successful after all of these years?

By keeping my feet firmly on the ground and not letting the success get to me; by never taking myself seriously; by remaining independent and being my own boss. And by being happy to grow very steadily and organically, and never pushing for the business to take off like a rocket.

How has being a designer today differed from being a designer when you first started your career?

It’s changed a lot! The fishpond is a lot more crowded than it used to be. By that I mean there’s a lot of brands and designers now, trying to fish from the same pond of customers. As such, the pace has changed a lot.

Can you tell us about the first suit you ever created

It was a suit I made for myself. It was a green bespoke two-piece. I cut quite the dash in it.

What’s the one piece of clothing you’ll cherish forever?

I wish I still had the green bespoke suit.

What’s the oldest thing in your closet?

I’ve got some very beautiful old chambray shirts that age amazingly and a really lovely leather belt. I love to wear them with a navy blue suit – something old and something new!


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